NDA’s Harivansh Narayan Singh on Thursday was elected as the new deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha after defeating Congress MP BK Hariprasad. The NDA got 125 votes against opposition’s 105. They needed just 119 to win the elections.
The majority mark in the 244-seat Rajya Sabha is 123, but the abstentions had brought it down to 119.
In a setback to Congress, five MPs from the DMK, Trinamool Congress and the YSR Congress did not take part in the voting. Three AAP MPs too abstained. The nine MPs from the BJP decided to support the NDA candidate after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly made a phone call to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
AAP on Wednesday had made its stand clear that its three MPs will not support either the BJP and the Congress.
Although the JDU’s Rajya Sabha MP was elected as the new deputy chairman, its leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had phoned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his party’s support, but the latter reportedly turned down his request.
Even though the JDU’s Singh sailed through without AAP’s support, Kejriwal was believed to have expressed his inability to support Singh since BJP was supporting him.
This was also confirmed by AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who was quoted by PTI as saying, “Nitish Kumarji called up Arvind Kejriwalji and sought AAP support for his party’s candidate. As it is not possible to vote for BJP-backed JD-U candidate.”
Singh also lashed out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi saying that the latter did not need AAP support for his party’s candidate.
“If they (the Congress) ask for our vote, we will oblige. It is meaningless to vote compulsively (for the Congress), if they do not need it,” Singh told reporters sarcastically. He said that ‘if Rahul Gandhi can hug Narendra Modi, why cannot he ask Arvind Kejriwal for support to his party’s candidate.’
Calling Congress “mean-spirited” party, Singh reminded that his party had voted in favour of its candidates in the elections for the President and the Vice President, even without being asked for it.
“We voted in favour of their candidates in the elections for President and Vice President but they did not even had the courtesy to say thank you…They distributed sweets when our 20 MLAs in Delhi were disqualified. All opposition parties supported us during Kejriwal’s dharna at the LG office barring the Congress,” he added.